"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better!"
At Middleforth Church of England Primary School, we aim to make use of our beautiful woodland grounds to offer our pupils the chance to experience Forest School Learning. All sessions are led by an in-house qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioner, supported by another member of staff. Children attend Forest School sessions in small groups throughout the school year allowing them opportunity to experience the seasonal changes that take place around them in a familiar environment.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is not a ‘one-off’ session but should be built up long-term over regular opportunities for children to be in an outdoors woodland environment. It should always allow all learners to achieve and develop skills of self-esteem and confidence within an outdoor, woodland environment. Within this, all children must be treated as equal, be allowed to explore and discover for themselves, take appropriate risks (through fire lighting, tree climbing and tool use), seek challenge, solve problems, co-operate with others and experience regular success. Through this, they will develop positive relationships both with others and the natural world and develop their personal potential.
Forest School is focused more on learning processes rather than on the content so that it is not what children achieve but how they have achieved it and the steps that they have taken along with the skills learnt. It is based very much on a child-centered approach where children are given encouragement to direct their own learning using their senses to explore the outdoor woodland environment. Therefore, the role of the adult is more one of facilitator and observer rather than teacher and this is a role in which the adult must be flexible and adaptable with planning.
Most importantly, Forest School develops the whole child which enhances each child’s personal, social, emotional, intellectual, linguistic, spiritual and physical development to increase their ability to become independent, inquisitive, resilient and confident learners who can manage risk safely.
“Forest School is a long-term approach to education, for children, young people, families and adults, that maximises the benefits of learning in the outdoors.
Whilst its roots are planted firmly in our best understanding of the theory of how children learn, its practice puts the learner at the heart of their learning experience.
From this fundamental platform, Forest School offers children and young people the opportunity, over repeated visits, to engage with the rich natural diversity of the woodland environment to help build confidence, sensitivity, resilience and curiosity.” (Forest School Training Company)
Aims of Forest School
We aim for our children to be:
What Do We Do?
There are lots of activities at Forest School which assist the children in developing their holistic learning in a hands on way.
ACTIVITIES WILL INCLUDE:
• Den building • Fire-lighting • Making fires • Muddy art • Natural art • Bug hunting
• Tree climbing • Whittling using knives • Sawing
• Using loppers • Hide and seek games
At Middleforth, we believe that Forest School enhances the curriculum to provide one that is broad, balanced and develops the whole child.
We recognise the uniqueness of every child and help them to respect each other and the natural world whilst developing their social, physical, intellectual, communication, spiritual and emotional skills and allowing them to take measured risks within a safe environment. In turn, this will help the children to further their confidence, creativity, decision-making skills and independence. We nurture children to become motivated and resilient so that they can attain their potential, and discover a curiosity and love of learning in the outdoors.
We aim to do this by:
- Providing a safe and secure woodland environment where the children can explore, challenge themselves and practise their skills on a regular basis.
- Giving children time, space and support to develop their skills, interests and understanding through a hands-on practical approach.
- Training children to use tools appropriately and build dens as well as create and make fires safely within a controlled environment.
- Planning flexible learning opportunities, including play, and observing children in their learning.
- Enabling the children to achieve success through challenges which focus on process rather than outcome.
- Encouraging the children to make sensible and informed decisions in unfamiliar situations based on their previous learning experiences.